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Bench press weight
http://exrx.net/forum/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=9341
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Author:  hoosegow [ Wed May 01, 2013 7:45 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Bench press weight

Dub wrote:
And push-ups! What many people don't realise is that they are sucking at bench because they have zero foundation, i.e. Suck at push-ups. Master the bodyweigth before the heavy weigth.



Good advice. I think it is either Tate or Wendler who won't let their newbs get on a bench until the can do something like 25 pushups.

Author:  KenDowns [ Wed May 01, 2013 12:10 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Bench press weight

This post has been bothering me because it seems, to put it bluntly, impossible. I'm pretty sure something is missing from the story.

1) weight and reps. You are benching 105 since day 1 for how many sets and reps?

2) you have been unable to improve the reps or the weight?

3) are you going to failure or simply going to some sense of comfort or safety before stopping?

4) Do you have a spotter who is handing off the weight?
4a) If no spotter, do you have pins or other safety gear to prevent getting stapled to the bench?
4b) If no spotter and no pins, are you afraid? Well if you have any brains you are afraid of having 105 hovering over your chest and face, but does the fear hold you back?

5) Why are you doing flat-back? Just wondering. If the answer is something like, "I don't know really just kind of started that way" or "My friend showed me that way" then you might look at powerlifting style. (That's what Oscar was heading for)

6) Your improvement on every other lift has been steady?

7) Normally we might go after diet and sleep, but you say the other lifts are improving.

8) OK, stretching here, but is bench day different in some way from the other days, like:

-- Have to work overtime night before
-- G/F won't let you sleep a wink, and you ain't got nothin left for her but she keeps coming at you
-- No time to eat that day because of work/life/something

Author:  HealthyJay [ Wed May 01, 2013 1:26 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Bench press weight

KenDowns wrote:
This post has been bothering me because it seems, to put it bluntly, impossible. I'm pretty sure something is missing from the story.

1) weight and reps. You are benching 105 since day 1 for how many sets and reps?

2) you have been unable to improve the reps or the weight?

3) are you going to failure or simply going to some sense of comfort or safety before stopping?

4) Do you have a spotter who is handing off the weight?
4a) If no spotter, do you have pins or other safety gear to prevent getting stapled to the bench?
4b) If no spotter and no pins, are you afraid? Well if you have any brains you are afraid of having 105 hovering over your chest and face, but does the fear hold you back?

5) Why are you doing flat-back? Just wondering. If the answer is something like, "I don't know really just kind of started that way" or "My friend showed me that way" then you might look at powerlifting style. (That's what Oscar was heading for)

6) Your improvement on every other lift has been steady?

7) Normally we might go after diet and sleep, but you say the other lifts are improving.

8) OK, stretching here, but is bench day different in some way from the other days, like:

-- Have to work overtime night before
-- G/F won't let you sleep a wink, and you ain't got nothin left for her but she keeps coming at you
-- No time to eat that day because of work/life/something


Lots of good questions. Here we go:

1) i am (and have been) benching 105 since day 1. I started out shooting for max 6 reps for 3 sets in all exercises (to list for strength) so i chose a weigh i could accomplish that and feel like i could only do 1 maybe 2 more reps on my last set. After about 6 weeks i moved to shooting for 8-12 reps for 3 sets (just to mix my routine up). Since i've been told lifting 1-6 reps is good for strength, and 8-12 is good for hypertrophy, i kept the bench at max 6 reps. I figured i needed to focus more on strength before size for my (sadly weak) chest. So i kept the same weight i was lifting before.

2)neither the weight or reps have improved, and when lifting my body fatigues right at the same time. (Meaning benching 105 for 3 sets of 6 has not gotten easier)

3)i am lifting with 6 rep max and stopping when i feel like i could only do 1 or 2 more reps on my last set

4a,b) i don't have a spotter. And i do use pins but am always a little nervous of trying do push myself too hard out of fear of muscle failure and being "stapled to the bench" haha

5) i've always done flat bench. No real reason other than i want to be able to bench a 45lb plates on eah side haha. I'm open to different styles and incl/decl but i just started out on a flat bench so stayed.

6/7) bench is the only exercise i haven't been improving on

8) as far as i can tell, bench day is no different than any other day. I encorporate it in my Push days (2per week) but besides that i can't tell any difference in the day.

Thanks for all the thoughts!

Author:  KenDowns [ Wed May 01, 2013 1:53 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Bench press weight

Aha. The missing part of the story is "perceived effort." If I am understanding you, you are sticking with what you think you can do, because it seems just as hard as it always did.

Perceived effort is very tricky. At your stage of training you don't really know what you can do (if you don't mind my saying). The more you train the more you learn what you can do, and one big thing you learn is how to push when you don't feel like you can -- and you make it! Those are some amazing reps when that happens.

But anyway, trying adding 5 to the bar next time. If you're nervous make it 2.5. I'll wager it will seem heavier, seem like more work, but you'll realize you can do it.

Also, try going for a one rep max, maybe with a buddy who can hand off to you. Then try again in a month. It really really should go up.

Author:  HealthyJay [ Wed May 01, 2013 1:58 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Bench press weight

KenDowns wrote:
Aha. The missing part of the story is "perceived effort." If I am understanding you, you are sticking with what you think you can do, because it seems just as hard as it always did.


Makes sense... So that would that explain why 105 feels just as heavy now as it did 2 months ago?

Author:  KenDowns [ Wed May 01, 2013 2:09 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Bench press weight

Basically yes. Don't trust how it feels. Test the limits.

Of course, don't go doubling the weight, just add a bit and see what happens.

Author:  Jungledoc [ Thu May 02, 2013 1:08 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Bench press weight

Yeah, that's a good thought. You don't really know that you are 1-2 reps shy of failure if you've never been to failure. No, don't do it on a regular basis, but you have to do it once in a while.

Author:  ephs [ Thu May 02, 2013 4:23 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Bench press weight

Dub wrote:
And push-ups! What many people don't realise is that they are sucking at bench because they have zero foundation, i.e. Suck at push-ups. Master the bodyweigth before the heavy weigth.

true story!

Author:  HealthyJay [ Thu May 02, 2013 11:32 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Bench press weight

KenDowns wrote:
Basically yes. Don't trust how it feels. Test the limits. Of course, don't go doubling the weight, just add a bit and see what happens.


Jungledoc wrote:
Yeah, that's a good thought. You don't really know that you are 1-2 reps shy of failure if you've never been to failure. No, don't do it on a regular basis, but you have to do it once in a while.


Jungledoc wrote:

Yeah, you should be starting with very light weight. You should not be struggling at all at the beginning--just practicing form and technique (this is true of any lift). Use an empty bar, do a few reps. Adjust your lock-out point or your touch point (yes, you should actually touch your chest), your grip width, your foot position or whatever. Then do a few more reps. Once you are feeling comfortable, start adding weight. Again, no struggling. If you can do 5 fairly quick easy reps, add 5 pounds. At first you can go up 5 pounds 2 or 3 times per workout, if the bar is not slowing down. Once you reach a weight where the bar slows by the fifth rep, you've found your working weight. That's the weight to use for your 3x5 or 5x3 or whatever you're doing. Then add 5 pounds each workout. If you can't make your planned reps, keep the weight the same for a workout or two. If you can't make your reps within 3 workouts, come back here, and we will argue endlessly as to the best strategy for going forward!.


So should i drop the weight or add more to test my limits? Haha

Author:  KenDowns [ Thu May 02, 2013 11:52 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Bench press weight

Doc's longer explanation is about how to find your working weight. It's the basic approach when you walk into the weight room cold with no prior history and don't know where to start.

Doc's shorter explanation and my own advice are the same: just add 5 pounds now, the next time you go in. This is the simpler path. Try it and let us know. If this is a spectacular failure we look at things again, but I have a sneaking suspicion you will have no trouble.

Author:  Jungledoc [ Thu May 02, 2013 9:03 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Bench press weight

HealthyJay wrote:
So should i drop the weight or add more to test my limits? Haha


Either! Both, actually.

I'd say that sometime soon you should absolutely rep out with relatively low weight. Make sure you have a spotter, and use good technique. No squirming and twisting. If you can't just gut it out, you're done.

Then you should test a real max. Warm up, do one at your regular working weight, put on 5 do another, etc, until you find the weight that you can't lift. Be sure to rest plenty between sets. Then you will know where you are. Find your working weight as I suggested above and proceed.

Author:  HealthyJay [ Sun May 12, 2013 6:55 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Bench press weight

Thanks all! Especially Doc and Ken. I tried benching again and couldn't find any 2.5's to add on each side to bump up my weight 5lbs total. So instead i grabbed 2, 5 lbs and gave it a try. I still might need a spotter to really get a feel for my "max weight", but i was able to push out 3 sets of 8 with 10 more lbs than i was lifting. Thanks everybody!

Author:  KenDowns [ Sun May 12, 2013 8:27 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Bench press weight

Glad to hear it!

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